French authorities accused of discrimination towards its personal athletes with Olympics hijab ban | EUROtoday

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The French authorities has been accused of discriminating towards its personal athletes, who can be prevented from sporting a hijab on the Paris Olympics.

The International Olympic Committee introduced in September that sportspeople competing within the Paris 2024 Olympic Games can put on a hijab within the athletes’ village – however a ban can be in place for the host nation’s athletes.

Minky Worden, director of world initiatives at Human Rights Watch, advised The Independent that France’s ban on hijabs for sportspeople infringes the Olympic Charter.

She mentioned: “The effect of France’s exclusionary hijab bans across many sports is that many women and girls from the Olympics’ own host nation are discriminated against, excluded, and prevented from playing, practising and competing in sports they love and excel at.

“This is a violation of both the Olympic Charter, which says ‘sport is a human right,’ and also the new International Olympic Committee Human Rights framework.  These French women athletes are shut out of competitive sport in their country and there is no access to remedy available to them.”

During a press briefing on Tuesday, Ms Worden mentioned the hijab ban has pushed some French athletes to depart the nation or ponder transferring overseas.

Helene Ba, a French basketball participant and authorized skilled, mentioned the hijab ban this summer season “only targeted Muslim athletes who wear the hijab, making it a clear discrimination based on gender and religion”.

She mentioned: “It is a clear violation of the Olympic Charter values and provisions, but it is also an infringement on our fundamental rights and freedoms. It violates our freedom of thought, conscience and religion and our right to participate in sport.

“It reinforces gender and racial stereotypes and it feeds the anti-Muslim hate that already pervades part of French society.”

Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir, a former NCAA basketball participant who spearheaded the International Basketball Federation’s (FIBA) choice to overturn their hijab ban again in 2017, mentioned: “It almost brings me to tears because why are we still having to go through this? Why do I have to explain I am a Muslim woman and I am good at basketball.”

OLY Paris Olympic Rings
OLY Paris Olympic Rings (Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

The banning of hijabs rose to prominence in debates about what is called “laicite”, a time period denoting the separation of church and state.

Headscarves, together with different clearly seen spiritual symbols, have been banned in state-run faculties since March 2004 in France, which is residence to the most important Muslim inhabitants in Western Europe.

The French Senate voted in January 2022 to ban sports activities gamers from sporting headscarves throughout competitions.

In September, French sports activities minister Amelie Oudea-Castera, a former skilled tennis participant, confirmed that the French Olympic staff is certain by laicite.

“It means absolute neutrality in public services,” she advised France 3 tv channel. “The France team will not wear the headscarf.”

A letter to the president of the International Olympic Committee signed by Amnesty International, The Committee to Protect Journalists, and Human Rights Watch, amongst different organisations requires the committee to “publicly call on sporting authorities in France to overturn all bans on athletes wearing the hijab in French sport, both at Paris 2024 and at all times and all levels of sport”.

The letter provides: “Women and girls in France who wear the hijab have been and are being prevented from playing multiple sports, including football, basketball, judo, boxing, volleyball and badminton – even at youth and amateur levels.

“The hijab bans in sports have resulted in many Muslim athletes being discriminated against, invisibilised, excluded and humiliated, causing trauma and social isolation.”

The International Olympic Committee was contacted for remark.